WARRENSBURG — One of the two people charged in the case regarding the discovery of the body of an infant found March 4 at Pertle Springs has posted bail after being arrested Friday.
Latasha Wilson, 19, of Warrensburg, has posted bail, but Zackary Carter, 20, of Warrensburg, remains in custody at the Johnson County Jail. Both received a $3,500 bond after they were arrested Friday. Wilson, a student at the University of Central Missouri, has been charged with abandonment of a corpse, and Carter has been charged with tampering with physical evidence. The arrests were the result of a call from someone who had information regarding the case.
According to court documents, Wilson admitted she gave birth to a baby boy in January, and that sometime after the delivery she discovered the baby was deceased. Wilson stated that she and Carter took the baby to a cave at Pertle Springs, a recreational area owned by UCM located a few miles south of the campus, to “dispose of the baby inside the cave.” Carter later returned to the cave and burned the infant’s body to try and destroy the evidence.
Few other details are currently available as officials await the results of an autopsy performed March 5 by the Warrensburg Police Department, as well as the results of an analysis of evidence collected at the scene conducted by Missouri State Highway Patrol. The only detail released from the autopsy was that the infant is Caucasian.
“What concrete evidence we have to date bears out (to the current charges),” Johnson County Prosecuting Attorney Lynn Stoppy told the Democrat Monday afternoon. “We’re still waiting on the results of the autopsy and results from Highway Patrol. Depending on how those things turn out will dictate if additional charges will be filed.”
Stoppy said the state has “charged them with what we know and can absolutely prove,” but since it is an ongoing investigation she can’t comment on details regarding the autopsy until results are received.
Two UCM biology students were conducting research the afternoon of March 4 in a research cave at Pertle Springs when they discovered the infant remains inside the cave.
The discovery was reported March 4, but a report was also made to the UCM Department of Public Safety on Feb. 17 regarding vandalism at the cave.
According to the UCM Incident Report, it was reported to Public Safety at 4:53 p.m. Feb. 17 that “person(s) unknown had caused damage to the biology department’s research cave located at Pertle Springs by damaging the lock and burning a small fire inside the cave.” The report did not indicate if Public Safety investigated the area.
The students told the Muleskinner, UCM’s student newspaper, they noticed the lock had been broken on a door securing the cave and there was a trash bag inside filled with what they assumed at the time was burned trash. The students had not returned to the cave until March 4 due to the weather, and upon returning the pair noticed a foul smell.
Upon further investigation they found what appeared to be human remains inside the trash bag and then notified authorities.
Wilson is scheduled to have an arraignment hearing at 1:30 p.m. March 19 at the Johnson County Justice Center. Stoppy said she expected Carter to have an arraignment hearing sometime this week, but an exact date was not available at press time.